Thursday, September 23, 2021
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Best Live Music Venues in Washington DC

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Whether you’re a fan of rock and roll, jazz, or EDM, the DC area has something for everyone when it comes to live music. Legends like Duke Ellington and Dave Grohl helped shape the music scene in Washington DC. But legends aside, what’s going on in the music scene now?

The District has some of the best venues in the country for all different types of listeners. In this guide, we take a look at some of the best live music venues in DC and offer insights into where you can find your favorite music genre to dance to all night long.


The 9:30 Club

This live music venue is a staple within the DC nightlife arena. Ever since opening its doors in 1980, The 9:30 Club has been consistently booking the nation’s top acts from every different genre of live music. Early on in the club’s illustrious history, they hosted then up-and-coming bands such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Ramones.

The club is a standing room only venue with enough space for up to 1,200 music enthusiasts. Since moving to V Street NW in 1996, the Club has hosted megastars including Bob Dylan and The Beastie Boys.

It will come as no surprise that in 2013 Rolling Stone named The 9:30 Club as the Best Big Room Club in America. If you want to headbang to a live rock show, this is a great place to start. We recommend getting in line early, well before the doors open at 7 PM.

 

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The Howard Theatre

If you are looking for soulful vibes in a beautifully restored venue, this might be the best late-night music spot for you. The Howard Theatre originally opened in 1910 boasting an extravagant decor both inside and out.

The venue reopened its doors in 2012 with orchestra and balcony seating, as well as eight VIP boxes. You can find this stunning building at 620 T Street, NW in the U Street Historic District.

In the month after opening, this venue hosted world-renowned musical acts such as Chaka Khan and Blue Oyster Cult. If you want to see a show featuring world-class performers, such as Drake and The Roots, this DC live music venue should be at the top of your list!

 

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The Black Cat

If you’re looking for something a bit more alternative, turn to The Black Cat to suit your music needs. This music venue proudly calls Dave Grohl one of its part owners, which adds to the novelty of this space.

The Black Cat opened in 1993 with a goal to bring alternative music lovers together under one roof with an excellent sound system. Home to two performance spaces, there is plenty of room to explore at this venue. The Red Room Bar showcases international talent acts such as Beck and Bikini Kill, while the Backstage area was designed to showcase local up-and-coming artists.

You can get your alternative music scene fix at 1811 14th St. NW, where The Black Cat has resided since its opening.

 

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Echostage

If electronic music is more your scene, catch a show at Echostage to fulfill your live music dreams. This is, by far, the largest capacity venue in DC at 30,000 square feet. If you’re looking for an indoor rave party, then this is your spot.

Echostage opened in 2012 as the premier music venue. With a capacity of about 3,000 people, this venue knows how to put on a festival-like show. The LED lasers are seamlessly coordinated with the music to elevate the experience. The imported German D&B Audiotechnik V sound system thumps and bumps into the wee hours of the morning.

In July 2021 alone, Echostage welcomed some of the biggest acts in the EDM industry such as Deadmau5, Diplo, and Jauz. We recommend checking out a show here if you want to dance all night long. You can find this venue at 2135 Queens Chapel Rd NE — but we don’t think you’ll be able to miss it.

 

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The Hamilton Live

If you want to eat fabulous food and check out a new acoustic band, The Hamilton Live has everything you need. Touted as a top date night spot by DC residents, you can enjoy a simple and elegant food menu with a live music act as dessert.

The Hamilton Live is just two blocks from the White House. You can expect to find jam bands, jazz, and funk artists playing live music in this underground space. The 19,000 square foot venue hosts many different talents, but they focus on big local acts.

You can find this little gem at 600 14th Street NW, and we recommend bringing an empty stomach for all that glorious food and your dancing shoes for after. 💃

 

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Union Stage

If you want to dance the night away near The Wharf, check out this powerhouse of a venue called Union Stage. This live music venue is much more intimate than the other ones on our list. You can expect to find local and independent acts performing weekly.

This venue gives off a beer and pizza night vibe, which is exactly what you can order from the Tap Room. The relaxed atmosphere is comfortable, and with a small setting, you can hear the acoustic music throughout the whole venue.

You can try out some local DC craft brews and get your music fix at 740 Water St SW, where Union Stage has been since it opened.

 

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Whatever your fine-tuned music tastes might be, DC has you covered with a range of different live music venues to choose from. So whether you want to rave all night to EDM music, or sink into a nice couch at a jazz lounge, be sure to check out these top live music venues in DC.

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